Waco Brothers Freedom and Weep

Few bands embrace the insanity and inherent contradictions of America as whole-heartedly as the Waco Brothers, and this latest effort once again straddles the line between paying tribute to the almighty power of rock and country, and the cold hard truth that the culture that spawned them is going down the tubes. Of course, this is the stuff that has inspired bandleaders Jon Langford and Steve Goulding ever since they started playing in the Mekons, but with the Wacos they have become a tight, shit-kicking unit who can hold their own with any homegrown country band. From blistering opener "Nothing At All,” Goulding, Langford, and fellow front-man Deano push each other to new heights with each song, with the many highlights including the stomper "Lincoln Town Car,” the anthemic "It’s Amazing,” and the self-explanatory "Drinking, Cheating & Death.” History has proven that it often takes outsiders to remind Americans how great their music is, and the Waco Brothers are certainly part of that tradition. Freedom and Weep is about as pure as country-rock gets nowadays. (Bloodshot)